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john.burn
06-17-2011, 10:20 AM
Dear Jason,
Thanks for your input here,First let me say I meant no disrespect when I asked Mr Streckel about his aikido pedigree.It was simply to find out whether his critique was based on sound foundations.
In my experience the Japanese method of teaching is not exactly in line with what we in the West consider to be 'Good teaching methods'
.People in the West want to know the Whys/wherefores/reasons etc of everything.In a word they want Aikido in a plate.People of my generation rarely if ever asked questions, we simply did[action orientated].Doing was the name of the game .Now people try and analyse things to the nth degree.Whole reams of internet mail are written and theories are expressed .Sometimes I just blank out when I read some stuff on this forum.Do we need to know reasons?Can we not simply practice under a competent teacher and find our own way?
Maybe I am being too simplistic here.Theory is no good without practice.
Cheers, Joe.

Hi Joe,

I think you've hit the nail on the head with some of the issues with the transmission methods - most of your generation trained directly under the 1st / 2nd generation Japanese teachers and learned the way they themselves were taught but with obvious language barriers - Japanglish if you will. They were possibly telling you how they can do what they can do and how to do the exercises but I'm guessing most of it went over most people's heads... Mind you, don't forget most of the direct students of O Sensei thought the guy was nuts.

If this is a good teaching / learning method then why are so very few people better than their respective teachers or indeed anywhere close? Could it be because they have no idea how to pass this stuff on? Maybe they don't have the skills to pass it on, maybe they're not interested in passing it on either ;). The answer is probably a little of both.

Yes, you can practice under a competent teacher and find your own way, but I think if you want to be able to do what the founder did and what his teachers did then you need to look outside of most aikido teachers around today. I'm not saying none of them have it, but I am saying very few can teach it. I'm not convinced I'd want to spend my entire life looking for something I might only just get a glimpse of if I'm lucky and only then if I screw my body up from 30 or 40 years of hard physical practice and abuse. Nothing wrong with being ready to drop and be exhausted after a long training session mind you, but not so sure it should be all the time and no need to get damaged.

Gorgeous George
06-17-2011, 10:43 AM
I've taken ukemi for people (dan grades, at that) who've trained for decades, and felt the tension in their arms as they execute the technique, knowing I could stop them; i've also trained with people (from another dojo/organisation) who haven't trained for even ten years, aren't a dan grade, and are immensely powerful and unstoppable.

I think a teaching method that has the highest success rate is the best one. You can say 'Just train.' - but just train what? If you're never given any actual instruction, why bother with an instructor?
Making sure that you effectively, and quickly, teach aiki is the best route, surely: it ensures the survival of the art; that people keep coming back; and that you have people to practice with.

gregstec
06-17-2011, 10:49 AM
Please note I incorrectly typed Mr Steckel name wrongly.I apologise for my one poor typing skills.

No problem Joe, It has been mangled before - and by the way, please just call me Greg :)

I hope my responses to your questions were satisfactory, it not, let me know and I can provide more clarification if need be.

Greg

graham christian
06-17-2011, 10:52 AM
Didn't you just agree that it should be the goal of a teacher to raise students who are better than they are? What do you think it would look like if aikidokas got better than Tohei or O-Sensei?

To paraphrase somebody-or-other, if we're standing on the shoulders of giants, what's our excuse for NOT seeing further than they?

Hugh. Not quite as you put it. I said I have never met anyone with the aim of making students better than themselves. I hold this not as a fixed aim but more as an infinite ongoing principle. I wish all teachers did have similar views for then they would be very humble and less egotistical.

Standing on the shoulders of Giants type statements shows me where the writer is coming from and once again gives the impression of inspirational but alas egotistical.

As to what a person would look like if they were better than O'Sensei or Tohei? Well let's start with Tohei.

He would be a great admirer of Tohei obviously and vice versa. He would be a Great exponent of Ki Aikido obviously. By this time, he would be teaching under a new banner, a new name with the full respect and agreement of Tohei himself.

In his Aikido it would continuously be stated and written as to the correct source of his style, with reverence and respect.

Being a humble person he would never say his was better than.

I could go on but I think (or rather hope) you get the gist.

Now that is given as an example of someone, man or woman, who had been a student of his. Someone who hadn't been a direct student would however be doing it under his own banner somewhere with exactly the same respect.

Add onto it that someone not better than but with a great understanding of would also be doing the same.

So here's the thing. Due to Toheis Aikido being self developement the person will be very 'takemuso' so to speak. He will hold such things as never to say such things as 'taking it to a new level' and would recognise those who do as where they actually are in respect to developement.

A thorough understanding of Toheis way would lead to a very calm wise spiritual person. The principles involved are there for that reason, for that is his way.

Finally, this person would be able to translate in Aikido terminology what he is doing, openly and honestly. He would be able to relate how such things as univrsal love are part of such and how they fit with Aikido in technique, in movement, in action, in application etc.

So there is a basic picture drawn by me for your contemplation.

Regards.G.

Tom H.
06-17-2011, 11:38 AM
Hugh. Not quite as you put it. I said I have never met anyone with the aim of making students better than themselves. I hold this not as a fixed aim but more as an infinite ongoing principle. I wish all teachers did have similar views for then they would be very humble and less egotistical.

Graham, I'm sorry you have not met them, but there are people who encourage their students & peers to become their best and exceed themselves as teachers, and who are happy to see their students make progress, and happier still as they are matched or outdone and then challenged to improve both their teaching skills as well as the skills they teach.

In my limited exposure to IP/aiki, Aikido, and the martial arts, I have met many people who have been selflessly helpful in this way; I don't think I would enjoy training with people who did not share this approach.

graham christian
06-17-2011, 12:21 PM
If by "real" you mean was I asking the question or was it rhetorical then no it wasn't rhetorical.

When one espouses non-control, non-confrontation, loving compassion, etc as basic tenets of how one behaves both on and off of the mat, which I believe you have but am willing to accept correction, do statements made in the manner above gel with this?

Well said rich. I asked in order find out why you asked.

So you noticed a change in my attitude there, yes indeed.

Most of the answer to your question is in the statement I made. Sadness.

How that relates to the tenets I behold to? Reality.

Sometimes you end up with a negative emotion, be it anger, antagonism sadness or such. Reality. But not the end or to be used as a justification.

Thus it is for me to look inwardly to find the truth of that sadness.

Having done that I can now say exactly the same thing with the same wording for that situation i described is sad but now I'M NOT.

I can 'let it be' more, I can accept it more so I am more centered, I can address people on the subject in a more non-disturbing manner. All in all with more Ki.

As with love it has nothing to do with agreeing or needing to impose will. As with compassion and humility it has nothing to do with being subservient to, sympathetic to or giving in to. As with non-confrontational it has nothing to do with therefore not correcting or challenging in a descent manner.

Regards G.

graham christian
06-17-2011, 12:39 PM
Graham, I'm sorry you have not met them, but there are people who encourage their students & peers to become their best and exceed themselves as teachers, and who are happy to see their students make progress, and happier still as they are matched or outdone and then challenged to improve both their teaching skills as well as the skills they teach.

In my limited exposure to IP/aiki, Aikido, and the martial arts, I have met many people who have been selflessly helpful in this way; I don't think I would enjoy training with people who did not share this approach.

Tom. All or most teachers are happy to see their students progress, that's obvious and I have met many. All or most teachers share their understandings and abilities with whoever they meet from whichever art, that too is obvious and I have met many. So don't feel sorry for me please.

As to the true understanding of what I said about holding to the principle of making better than self I'm afraid you have missed the point grasshopper.

It's another of my observations which are quite zen. Thus I see by action of rather than what appears to be.

Regards G.

phitruong
06-17-2011, 12:42 PM
Graham, I'm sorry you have not met them, but there are people who encourage their students & peers to become their best and exceed themselves as teachers, and who are happy to see their students make progress, and happier still as they are matched or outdone and then challenged to improve both their teaching skills as well as the skills they teach.
.

could even name two: Saotome sensei and Ikeda sensei. public knowledge. story of Ikeda sensei taking lesson at Aiki Expo. brought in Ushiro sensei from karate to teach and learn. saw Saotome watched karate stuffs and adopt it to his take from aikido angle. do all kind of bridge and friendship seminars with other teachers so we call can learn from each others. the list goes on and on.

question you should ask: if Ikeda studied under Saotome, who was an uchideshi of O Sensei, what need was he to learn from others? not only Saotome did not forbid it, but encouraged it. what does that shows the characters of the two men?

i have no problem stating that i want to be better. however, do you know how hard it is to catch up with Ikeda sensei? the man is a ferocious learner and practitioner. yup, he's my role model. :)

mrlizard123
06-17-2011, 12:52 PM
As to the true understanding of what I said about holding to the principle of making better than self I'm afraid you have missed the point grasshopper.

It's another of my observations which are quite zen. Thus I see by action of rather than what appears to be.

Regards G.

Would you mind explaining in simpler terms so we might not miss the point, as I share Tom's misunderstanding on that one...

mrlizard123
06-17-2011, 01:00 PM
How that relates to the tenets I behold to? Reality...

I can 'let it be' more, I can accept it more so I am more centered, I can address people on the subject in a more non-disturbing manner. All in all with more Ki.

Reality is a powerful thing and important to remain anchored to; I'm glad you feel more centred now, whilst we may not share opinions on topics I was most impressed by the calm posting manner you displayed previously such as when you came under fire regarding people's views on your videos but remained unruffled.

PhillyKiAikido
06-17-2011, 01:55 PM
Ting:

Dan Harden is planning on visiting Greg sometime this summer. If that is not an open event, Dan will be back at my place 9/9-9/11. Details to follow soon. I strongly urge you to make effort to attend a seminar by someone who can teach IS. My own personal experiences have led me to make a dedicated effort to learn as much as I can from Dan. He has an excellent teaching methodology, combined with a great sense of humor. He is very skilled and has a great attitude toward sharing his experiences with others while supporting their efforts as well.

The differences and similarities that you are trying to process will become a lot clearer after getting some hands-on experience.

Cordially,

Marc Abrams

Abrams sensei,

Thanks very much for your sharing and suggestion. I'm not sure if I can make the seminar at your dojo in Sep, but I will try to attend one as soon as I can.

Thanks again!

Ting

Gerardo Torres
06-17-2011, 02:05 PM
We are now in the Youtube era, not having a public video out and a basic biography public is just a little weird in todays world.
Hi Jonathan,

A look at the comment section of Youtube will give you an idea of the general level of ignorance when it comes to assessing martial arts videos. This is especially true for "aiki" arts. Most aikido videos are littered with trollish and ignorant comments. The sad part is that these comments are not always from people outside aikido, but by aikidoka who as soon as they see something that externally looks different to what they do, they attack it or dismiss it based on nothing but especulation. As for exponents of aiki/IP training, Akuzawa and Ushiro have videos on Youtube... which are also received by ignorant comments from people without direct experience in what these men do. So these videos are only useful to those who've had direct experience or have a knowledge of what's going on.

As for background checks, if some of these aiki/IP exponents are teaching teachers and high-ranking students in aikido, and are invited over and over to teach at established aikido schools, does it matter who they trained with? I think the sponsorship by teachers (it's not just one, a quick look at seminar announcements will give you a broader idea) and established dojo is more than enough. Who you trained with guarantees nothing about what you can do; experience-based reviews from fellow aikidoka have more weight (at least for me).

graham christian
06-17-2011, 02:08 PM
Would you mind explaining in simpler terms so we might not miss the point, as I share Tom's misunderstanding on that one...

Hi Rich.
I can but try.

I have said as much in previous posts and it is one of those views that by observation are not widely held in truth and action but believed to be the case.

When thoroughly viewed you see and conceptualize what something thus would look like if it truly was the case.

If a Teacher truly holds to that principle then he would be free of the need to control etc, all the principles as no different to the ones I mention like non-control etc. So the understanding of what I mean doesn't come from how he treats students and whether they are happily progressing, the test comes in WHEN the students are up to such a great or envisioned standard.

Ha, ha, thats why I find it quite amusing to see all the theories about what O'Sensei envisioned for the future of Aikido for mostly I see views based on control, imposing will, must be's etc all in the name of 'keeping it real' or looking after the integrity of the art etc.

Back to the point at hand. I'll use myself as an example here if you don't mind.

I insist, and if I was an organization it would be therefore translated as some kind of policy or part of the structure of teaching and grading, that at a certain point it is the responsibility of the student to start their own 'school' under their own name associated to me only by reference.

Like a tree who's responsibility is looking after and feeding and nurturing it's own 'fruit' until it is ready to leave and become it's own tree.

In my Aikido I thus have told my students if they want to reach such levels I can help them as best I can but part of the structure is that they would then be responsible for teaching under their own banner, calling their Aikido a name that befits their 'way' even though being based on the same principles.

How does this work and why?

Because, as I jokingly say to let's say a lady who teaches ballet who comes to me for Aikido. I tell her that it's interesting that if she ever get's to such a standard and wanted to then she would have to start her own 'school' and maybe she could call it 'balletkido.'

That's good jokes but more importantly is this reason: I tell my son the same and he is a very good musician, his world is music. that's his universe.

Therefore if he was to do the same I would expect him to use the same principles but unlike me he would be able to relate them to, translate them and communicate them in terms of music thus he could reach and help musicians who wanted to do Aikido far better than I could.

That doesn't mean his Aikido would have a musical name for through his experience and realizations he might call in Kannagara Aikido or whatever. The point is in any books he wrote or writings he did he would be very good at musical analogies.

Free, uncontrolled by me, yet teaching the same principles his way. Natural progression.

If someone says they want to do it exactly the same as me and thus call it the same the I would say no. I would say go away and notice the difference between you and me and thus find your true way which will serve the same ends.

Hope that clarifies rather than confuses the issue.

Regards.G.

PhillyKiAikido
06-17-2011, 02:22 PM
Ting,

The next semi-open event I will have with Dan will be sometime in November or early December - have not set a date yet.

However, with that said, I am having a training session this Saturday at my place in Lancaster county with five of us that has trained with Dan before as well as a couple of newbies. You are only a couple hours away and if you are interested, send me a private email and I will give you more detail.

Greg

Greg,

Thanks for the info and invitation. I'm very interested in practicing with your group, unfortunately I can't make it this time. Do you guys do that regularly? Please keep me in the loop and I will try to pay a visit next time. BTW, I will try to visit Steve Trinkle sensei's dojo some time soon.

Thanks again!

Ting

gregstec
06-17-2011, 03:19 PM
Greg,

Thanks for the info and invitation. I'm very interested in practicing with your group, unfortunately I can't make it this time. Do you guys do that regularly? Please keep me in the loop and I will try to pay a visit next time. BTW, I will try to visit Steve Trinkle sensei's dojo some time soon.

Thanks again!

Ting

Unfortunately, I am in and out of town a lot this summer so I do not have a regular schedule of Training - However, in the fall I will and in the mean time I will put you on my distribution list if you send me your email address in a PM.

I see your are familiar with Steve - I was going to suggest you visit him in the interim - your ki must be strong already to know I was going to do that :)

Greg

SteveTrinkle
06-17-2011, 05:24 PM
Greg,

Thanks for the info and invitation. I'm very interested in practicing with your group, unfortunately I can't make it this time. Do you guys do that regularly? Please keep me in the loop and I will try to pay a visit next time. BTW, I will try to visit Steve Trinkle sensei's dojo some time soon.

Thanks again!

Ting

Hello Ting,

You are more then welcome to visit us any time. I'm sure we would have fun. Please know that as far as IP/IS stuff goes, I am just at the very beginning of my studies into what Dan is showing and I know that I don't know what I'm doing. In a word, I suck. But I am astounded by what I've felt and seen with Dan and his students and am determined to keep at it and improve. It's like finding something you didn't know you were looking for.

Anyway, I do hope to meet you.

Best regards,
Steve (not"sensei," please)

sakumeikan
06-17-2011, 05:32 PM
I've taken ukemi for people (dan grades, at that) who've trained for decades, and felt the tension in their arms as they execute the technique, knowing I could stop them; i've also trained with people (from another dojo/organisation) who haven't trained for even ten years, aren't a dan grade, and are immensely powerful and unstoppable.

I think a teaching method that has the highest success rate is the best one. You can say 'Just train.' - but just train what? If you're never given any actual instruction, why bother with an instructor?
Making sure that you effectively, and quickly, teach aiki is the best route, surely: it ensures the survival of the art; that people keep coming back; and that you have people to practice with.
Dear Graham,
Do not get confused with the idea of simply training.Simply training with sensei who do not /are not competent /teach poor skills simply trains you in a manner which is non productive.
To be the a good as you can be you need to select your teachers.If you train with the best available , you should at least in theory become reasonably skilled.You have to use your common sense.No point in wasting valuable time without some sense of reward? for your efforts.
Are you still training with I.G? cheers, Joe.

Mark Freeman
06-17-2011, 05:34 PM
That's good jokes but more importantly is this reason: I tell my son the same and he is a very good musician, his world is music. that's his universe.

Therefore if he was to do the same I would expect him to use the same principles but unlike me he would be able to relate them to, translate them and communicate them in terms of music thus he could reach and help musicians who wanted to do Aikido far better than I could.

That doesn't mean his Aikido would have a musical name for through his experience and realizations he might call in Kannagara Aikido or whatever. The point is in any books he wrote or writings he did he would be very good at musical analogies.

Free, uncontrolled by me, yet teaching the same principles his way. Natural progression.

Hi Graham,

Good post, I recently read a superb book which combines music with martial arts. Zen Guitar - by Philip Toshio Sudo. A beautiful parallel between the practice of learning the instrument, the practice and philosophy of zen and the levels reached in martial arts. Well worth a read for anyone practicing the guitar, or with a love of music, maybe of less interesting for martial artists. It certainly changed my approach to learning and playing the instrument. I'd be very surprised if both you and your son didn't enjoy it, if you haven't read it already.

regards,

Mark

graham christian
06-17-2011, 05:58 PM
Hi Graham,

Good post, I recently read a superb book which combines music with martial arts. Zen Guitar - by Philip Toshio Sudo. A beautiful parallel between the practice of learning the instrument, the practice and philosophy of zen and the levels reached in martial arts. Well worth a read for anyone practicing the guitar, or with a love of music, maybe of less interesting for martial artists. It certainly changed my approach to learning and playing the instrument. I'd be very surprised if both you and your son didn't enjoy it, if you haven't read it already.

regards,

Mark

Cheers Mark.
I've made a note of it. Sure we will like it.

Regards.G.

Gorgeous George
06-17-2011, 06:05 PM
Dear Graham,
Do not get confused with the idea of simply training.Simply training with sensei who do not /are not competent /teach poor skills simply trains you in a manner which is non productive.
To be the a good as you can be you need to select your teachers.If you train with the best available , you should at least in theory become reasonably skilled.You have to use your common sense.No point in wasting valuable time without some sense of reward? for your efforts.
Are you still training with I.G? cheers, Joe.

I know exactly what you mean, yeah.
I've trained in four or five styles, so i'm well-worn...

I haven't been able to train with Ian for about six months now, unfortunately - and just when I started to make some decent progress, too; i've been unable to afford the trip; I make it to train with a great teacher in Congleton - who is heavily influenced by Seishiro Endo sensei, who is probably my favourite aikidoka - occasionally, as the trip is short and cheap.

graham christian
06-18-2011, 05:20 PM
There must be contrast in the world to maintain harmony - no ying and yang, and all will just fall apart :)

Hi Greg.
I call my last comment to you ma-ai which may indeed fit with ying and yang in one respect.

Here's another fundamental difference between what I teach and many other ways. You may or may not find this interesting.

In my way of Ki or spiritual Aikido there is a major 'principle' difference. The principle I refer to is non-disturbance.

This in turn means the aim of Aikido the way I do it is not to disturb the opponents centre or disrupt there centre or any of the other disruptions generally held to be the case.

Respectfully.G.

gregstec
06-18-2011, 06:57 PM
Hi Greg.
I call my last comment to you ma-ai which may indeed fit with ying and yang in one respect.

Here's another fundamental difference between what I teach and many other ways. You may or may not find this interesting.

In my way of Ki or spiritual Aikido there is a major 'principle' difference. The principle I refer to is non-disturbance.

This in turn means the aim of Aikido the way I do it is not to disturb the opponents centre or disrupt there centre or any of the other disruptions generally held to be the case.

Respectfully.G.

Hi Graham,

Just got back from my beer misogi in the hot tub - I conducted a little training session on IS and its application into a few basic Daito Ryu techniques today - nothing better than beer and hot tub to get the mind and body loosened up and connected into harmony :)

You may or may not find this interesting.

Graham, I always find what you say interesting - however, most of the time I jam lust trying to figure out what you are saying :)

In my way of Ki or spiritual Aikido there is a major 'principle' difference. The principle I refer to is non-disturbance.

This in turn means the aim of Aikido the way I do it is not to disturb the opponents centre or disrupt there centre or any of the other disruptions generally held to be the case.

OK, Graham, that all sounds nice, but it sounds more like a group hug than a martial art defense. If you do not take uke's center by disrupting his balance, just how do you gain control of an attack ?

Your Friend in Dis-harmony :)
Greg

graham christian
06-18-2011, 07:50 PM
Hi Graham,

Just got back from my beer misogi in the hot tub - I conducted a little training session on IS and its application into a few basic Daito Ryu techniques today - nothing better than beer and hot tub to get the mind and body loosened up and connected into harmony :)

Graham, I always find what you say interesting - however, most of the time I jam lust trying to figure out what you are saying :)

OK, Graham, that all sounds nice, but it sounds more like a group hug than a martial art defense. If you do not take uke's center by disrupting his balance, just how do you gain control of an attack ?

Your Friend in Dis-harmony :)
Greg

Dis-harmony? Is that referring to ma-ai? (dis short for distance?)

I'm glad it feels like a group hug, that's how it should feel.

Also along with the principle of non-disturbance is the principle of non-control. (all part of non-resistance) I had a brief tete a tete on precisely this on the 'general' forum earlier today.

There is no 'controlling' Once again a subject addressed on the General forum on a thread by Ron Ragusa.

There is however blending with and following the paths of non-resistance.

Regards.G.

graham christian
06-18-2011, 08:36 PM
Greg, just to inform you the thread I mention above is entitled 'Hard before Soft ???'

My basic tenets I adhere to are from Statements by O'Sensei and indeed Tohei. Not from the view that they are mistranslations but from the view that spiritually they make sense. Statements like 'There is no attacker in Aikido for the moment he attacks he has already lost' (may not be word perfect) If I'm not mistaken Ki Aikido and Tohei prefered to use the term 'partner' instead of opponent. Another thing that physically and analytically don't make sense but spiritually makes perfect sense.

Regards.G.

gregstec
06-18-2011, 09:16 PM
Dis-harmony? Is that referring to ma-ai? (dis short for distance?)

I'm glad it feels like a group hug, that's how it should feel.

Also along with the principle of non-disturbance is the principle of non-control. (all part of non-resistance) I had a brief tete a tete on precisely this on the 'general' forum earlier today.

There is no 'controlling' Once again a subject addressed on the General forum on a thread by Ron Ragusa.

There is however blending with and following the paths of non-resistance.

Regards.G.

So, when you blend who leads the composite energies?

Greg

gregstec
06-18-2011, 09:21 PM
Greg, just to inform you the thread I mention above is entitled 'Hard before Soft ???'

My basic tenets I adhere to are from Statements by O'Sensei and indeed Tohei. Not from the view that they are mistranslations but from the view that spiritually they make sense. Statements like 'There is no attacker in Aikido for the moment he attacks he has already lost' (may not be word perfect) If I'm not mistaken Ki Aikido and Tohei prefered to use the term 'partner' instead of opponent. Another thing that physically and analytically don't make sense but spiritually makes perfect sense.

Regards.G.

All this is really great spiritual stuff and I am with you on it from a spiritual perspective. However, what about the martial perspective of Aikido? if that is something you don't dwell on, that is OK if that is what you are all about - live and let live I say :)

Best

Greg

graham christian
06-18-2011, 09:37 PM
So, when you blend who leads the composite energies?

Greg

We do.

G.

gregstec
06-18-2011, 09:43 PM
We do.

G.

LOL - Nice answer - but where does that lead you two to ? :)

graham christian
06-18-2011, 09:51 PM
All this is really great spiritual stuff and I am with you on it from a spiritual perspective. However, what about the martial perspective of Aikido? if that is something you don't dwell on, that is OK if that is what you are all about - live and let live I say :)

Best

Greg

It's very martial from a different perspective. When O'Sensei said true budo is love he meant it. It takes great discipline to do so.

Regards G.

graham christian
06-18-2011, 09:58 PM
LOL - Nice answer - but where does that lead you two to ? :)

To the end of the movement, the journey.

Imagine meeting and joining with someone, a friend getting on a bus. You thus travel the path together.

Now imagine joining a fiend on a Ferris wheel or the 'london eye' so to speak. Both on the same journey.

The 'vehicle' in this case is the universal path that is already there thus we both go for a ride. The shape of the path is determined by the aiki motion or harmonious motion used to join in alignment.

Regards.G.

gregstec
06-18-2011, 10:01 PM
It's very martial from a different perspective. When O'Sensei said true budo is love he meant it. It takes great discipline to do so.

Regards G.

Well since you put it that way, I guess I can't argue against O'Sensei - by the way, it must be way past your bed time time in the UK since it is 11:00 pm here on the East Coast of the colonies - time to say good night Gracie :)

PhillyKiAikido
06-18-2011, 10:01 PM
My basic tenets I adhere to are from Statements by O'Sensei and indeed Tohei. Not from the view that they are mistranslations but from the view that spiritually they make sense. Statements like 'There is no attacker in Aikido for the moment he attacks he has already lost' (may not be word perfect) If I'm not mistaken Ki Aikido and Tohei prefered to use the term 'partner' instead of opponent. Another thing that physically and analytically don't make sense but spiritually makes perfect sense.


Graham,

Thanks for the effort(less way) to reveal the principles of Ki-Aikido layer by layer. Ki-Aikido is also something that needs hands-on experiences to know the unspeakable beauty of the art.

Ting

P.S. I recognized what you did from your videos with the funny hats.

gregstec
06-18-2011, 10:07 PM
To the end of the movement, the journey.

Imagine meeting and joining with someone, a friend getting on a bus. You thus travel the path together.

Now imagine joining a fiend on a Ferris wheel or the 'london eye' so to speak. Both on the same journey.

The 'vehicle' in this case is the universal path that is already there thus we both go for a ride. The shape of the path is determined by the aiki motion or harmonious motion used to join in alignment.

Regards.G.

Yeah, but let's say on that journey you ask the friend to pay their half share of the cost and they say you invited me - then you say: so, you still need to pay; then your friend takes a swing at you - so, who leads that journey :)

Greg

graham christian
06-18-2011, 10:10 PM
Graham,

Thanks for the effort(less way) to reveal the principles of Ki-Aikido layer by layer. Ki-Aikido is also something that needs hands-on experiences to know the unspeakable beauty of the art.

Ting

P.S. I recognized what you did from your videos with the funny hats.

Oh, thanks for the validation. Well, Gregs right, time for bed.

Regards.G.

gregstec
06-18-2011, 10:12 PM
Oh, thanks for the validation. Well, Gregs right, time for bed.

Regards.G.

See, I knew I could get you to agree with me :D

DH
06-18-2011, 10:59 PM
Yeah, but let's say on that journey you ask the friend to pay their half share of the cost and they say you invited me - then you say: so, you still need to pay; then your friend takes a swing at you - so, who leads that journey :)
Greg
It isn't martial. It never will be. I get confused when they start quoting "Budo is love" when it was used for many attrocities. In this case, Ueshiba, who taught assassins and hard core right wing military people, who later in his career gave people concusion, broke hips in randori, knocked people out... on and on.
Spiritual ki that resolves conflict in a dojo? It's fantasy that they cannot fulfill. You will not find a single dojo that trains this way, not even one, who has a capable fighter as the attacker. Why? They are not capable of defending themselves against one using their described methods.
On the other hand, playing with movement can be fun and that is what they are truly doing.
On the other...other hand, playing with ki ...as strength and aiki, can be incredibly martial, no matter who is attacking.
Dan

SteveTrinkle
06-18-2011, 11:08 PM
Hi Graham,

Just got back from my beer misogi in the hot tub - I conducted a little training session on IS and its application into a few basic Daito Ryu techniques today - nothing better than beer and hot tub to get the mind and body loosened up and connected into harmony :)



Greg,

Thanks for that today. Had a good time and left with more to work on. As usual!

Cheers,
Steve

Nicholas Eschenbruch
06-19-2011, 02:59 AM
(...) You will not find a single dojo that trains this way, not even one, who has a capable fighter as the attacker. Why? They are not capable of defending themselves against one using their described methods.
(...)
On the other hand, playing with movement can be fun and that is what they are truly doing.
(...)
On the other...other hand, playing with ki ...as strength and aiki, can be incredibly martial, no matter who is attacking.
Dan

Dan,
Could you agree that there may be a whole array of meaningful practices between "a capable fighter attaking" and "playing with movement"? It is the whole world of modern aikido! Now you may not be interested, but I still think its a legitimate world.

I get a little weary of the strawman - not attributing it to you here, but seeing it all over recently - that aikido is either a full blown fighting art or meaningless ribbon dancing: when all the stuff in between continues to transform people's lives, who is to say they are wrong in what they do. I sometimes think it could help if the hard-ass fighters could acknowledge that there is something they not only dont want to be part of, that is the easy bit heard all over, but also really have little idea about.

I have used aikido in an important life situation - and no, it was not a fight. If I told you about it over a beer maybe you would understand, maybe you would shake your head in disbelief about my bunny world. But that is my frame of relevance. (and then of course I would like to be able to do a fraction of what you do, too :) ) Other people have other frames.

Of course I realise and understand you guys get angry when ignorant people make pretentious claims about the fighting nature of what they can do, and they cannot. But I personally think aikido can best be considered a fascinating creative process about whose totality we all really dont know much . You have become such an interesting force in it yourself.

So much for this brief rant, back to breathing through my bunny ears. Hope you are well!

Aikirk
06-19-2011, 03:47 AM
It's very martial from a different perspective. When O'Sensei said true budo is love he meant it. It takes great discipline to do so.

Regards G.

I back you on that. Even though i don't do Aikido any more, I begin to see that everything O'sensei said, he meant. He did not say things unnecessarily they all had meaning and truth to it. But it must be understood from a spiritual point of view, or much of it seems like a complete ramble. :)

gregstec
06-19-2011, 07:10 AM
Greg,

Thanks for that today. Had a good time and left with more to work on. As usual!

Cheers,
Steve

You are welcome - glad I could help enlighten you, and I hope I was not too martial for your Aikido sensitivities :)

Greg

DH
06-19-2011, 07:15 AM
Hello Nicholas
I think most Aikido dojo in fact due function in that role, in various forms. but it wasn't that role or type of dojo that was being discussed.
When you think about it how many people want or need that kind of pressure in their hobby. I train with a lot people in Aikido, many if not most are the professional type, married, with kids, have full lives and are not too concerned with getting in a fight any time soon. They have a "My budo is mentally and physically stimulating enough for me...thank you very much." kind of attitude.
I see nothing wrong with that. Its healthy and fun. Almost all of us from Aikido to DR, to BJJ, to Judo are somewhere in the middle, self aware, and having fun. And not confused about the reality of their own choices.
The other postive aspects that function within that paradigm is the mental game of trying to pull something off, in balance, yes with cooperation, that does something very positive to people mentally. I know plenty of people that have talked about that aspect of aikido (and other budo) helping them in their daily lives.
So here you have a physical and mental practice that offers physical and mental challenges to people that brings value to their lives. Not bad eh? To me, those are not the people that fit Meik Skosses term of "Aikibunnies."

Oh, one other thing. No I don't think you have to go all out into MMA and are somehow less than if you don't. I've never thought that way.
To be fair, there -are- grades of pressure testing in budo though. Those who chose or choose to play in more pressured environments deserve as much credit for the realities of their choices. You hear just as much derision aimed at grapplers as some sort of meat head. When in fact grappling is done by the same broad range of people that do other budo. I guess I am more concerned that all of us have a balanced view of what we do.

In my previous post,I was (only) discussing that other extreme, lets call it far off the beam from average. They are not exclusive to aikio either. Those who's practice is "out there" in the first place and who actually think that hyper cooperative playing with movement, and defending with "spiritual ki" is going to work with someone trying to do you harm.
To me those are the aikibunnies
Cheers
Dan

gregstec
06-19-2011, 07:35 AM
I back you on that. Even though i don't do Aikido any more, I begin to see that everything O'sensei said, he meant. He did not say things unnecessarily they all had meaning and truth to it. But it must be understood from a spiritual point of view, or much of it seems like a complete ramble. :)

I am having fun going back and forth with Graham and I love the guy for the way he handles his controversies in the forum. Also, I understand where he is coming from on the spiritual stuff - if that is that way he and others like to look at Aikido, that is great since Aikido does have a lot of spiritual stuff in it based on Ueshiba's teachings.

However, Aikido can also be a very effective martial system on a non spiritual level as well; which Ueshiba demonstrated very well in his early years. People in the pursuit of that skill have every right to call that 'Aikido' as do the spiritual people do to call their pursuit 'Aikido'. And both groups are correct since Ueshiba represented both.

Oh, and just to keep things on topic, let me just say that there is no 'strength vs ki' - ki produces strength :)

Greg

Aikirk
06-19-2011, 08:31 AM
I am having fun going back and forth with Graham and I love the guy for the way he handles his controversies in the forum. Also, I understand where he is coming from on the spiritual stuff - if that is that way he and others like to look at Aikido, that is great since Aikido does have a lot of spiritual stuff in it based on Ueshiba's teachings.

However, Aikido can also be a very effective martial system on a non spiritual level as well; which Ueshiba demonstrated very well in his early years. People in the pursuit of that skill have every right to call that 'Aikido' as do the spiritual people do to call their pursuit 'Aikido'. And both groups are correct since Ueshiba represented both.

Oh, and just to keep things on topic, let me just say that there is no 'strength vs ki' - ki produces strength :)

Greg

Indeed we have our path to follow and one should do the budo one thinks fits best. But O'sensei's words followed his techniques. So if we want to get closer to his techniques, we must also follow his words. Don't forget that in his mind everything is one, i I believe that he saw his spiritual teaching as being just as much Aikido as his technical teaching. :)

"Right use of Ki" produces strength. :D

Nicholas Eschenbruch
06-19-2011, 09:03 AM
Hello Nicholas
I think most Aikido dojo in fact due function in that role, in various forms. but it wasn't that role or type of dojo that was being discussed.
When you think about it how many people want or need that kind of pressure in their hobby. I train with a lot people in Aikido, many if not most are the professional type, married, with kids, have full lives and are not too concerned with getting in a fight any time soon. They have a "My budo is mentally and physically stimulating enough for me...thank you very much." kind of attitude.
I see nothing wrong with that. Its healthy and fun. Almost all of us from Aikido to DR, to BJJ, to Judo are somewhere in the middle, self aware, and having fun. And not confused about the reality of their own choices.
The other postive aspects that function within that paradigm is the mental game of trying to pull something off, in balance, yes with cooperation, that does something very positive to people mentally. I know plenty of people that have talked about that aspect of aikido (and other budo) helping them in their daily lives.
So here you have a physical and mental practice that offers physical and mental challenges to people that brings value to their lives. Not bad eh? To me, those are not the people that fit Meik Skosses term of "Aikibunnies."

Oh, one other thing. No I don't think you have to go all out into MMA and are somehow less than if you don't. I've never thought that way.
To be fair, there -are- grades of pressure testing in budo though. Those who chose or choose to play in more pressured environments deserve as much credit for the realities of their choices. You hear just as much derision aimed at grapplers as some sort of meat head. When in fact grappling is done by the same broad range of people that do other budo. I guess I am more concerned that all of us have a balanced view of what we do.

In my previous post,I was (only) discussing that other extreme, lets call it far off the beam from average. They are not exclusive to aikio either. Those who's practice is "out there" in the first place and who actually think that hyper cooperative playing with movement, and defending with "spiritual ki" is going to work with someone trying to do you harm.
To me those are the aikibunnies
Cheers
Dan

Hi Dan,
thanks for the clarification, I hear you. I guess the more extreme varieties you describe I would just ignore.... maybe that's what I have partly done in this thread :o sorry.

To me, part of the beauty of doing Aikido is that any "spiritual" claim needs to be translated into movement and interaction if it is to hold true... that's why it's little use doing it over the internet.

I was not aware Meik Skoss coined the term "aikibunny"? I tend to proudly appropriate it, though with some irony I guess.

Have a nice day

gregstec
06-19-2011, 09:23 AM
Indeed we have our path to follow and one should do the budo one thinks fits best. But O'sensei's words followed his techniques. So if we want to get closer to his techniques, we must also follow his words. Don't forget that in his mind everything is one, i I believe that he saw his spiritual teaching as being just as much Aikido as his technical teaching. :)

"Right use of Ki" produces strength. :D

Actually, I think later in his life he was not doing much of any technical teachings and was mostly focused on his spiritual stuff.

To me the learning of technique is not the goal, but what makes any technique magical is; which IMO is Aiki as taught by the IS guys :)

Greg

DH
06-19-2011, 09:30 AM
Hi Dan,
thanks for the clarification, I hear you. I guess the more extreme varieties you describe I would just ignore.... maybe that's what I have partly done in this thread :o sorry.

To me, part of the beauty of doing Aikido is that any "spiritual" claim needs to be translated into movement and interaction if it is to hold true... that's why it's little use doing it over the internet.

I was not aware Meik Skoss coined the term "aikibunny"? I tend to proudly appropriate it, though with some irony I guess.

Have a nice day

Glad we are clear
Hey...Happy Fathers day!
I think there are some great aspects of Aikido and of taiji push hands that people don't get. Those who's only concern -are fighting- will never get. It is a mental/physical plane that changes both the body and your mental outlook. And no I don't think it applies and therefore has changed/helped everyone.
There is a quality to that mental/physical practice that infuses everything you do. I think it is what Ueshiba was on about. I have met Chinese grandmaster level guys who were at peace with themselves and filled the room with their presence. And against all of my earlier prejudices (again Ellis was right), I have now met Aikido teachers who are stellar people and exhibit that same open and calm demeaner.
Here's the clincher....I have also met and seen the same calm and openness toward life's adversity in.....seasoned grapplers...who's concerns were not only about fighting either!! Talk to some of the Gracies and you will quickly see it is lifestyle and outlook.

I think it is quite funny that I find myself stuck on both sides of that pendulum and agreeing with both parties. As you know I play with MMAers, and they poke fun of the bunnies/ I teach aikido people and they poke fun of the MMAers.
It's why Holland (and actually many of my seminars) are fun for me. Both groups could take the blinders off and see and train with each other and find common ground and new friendships. Awareness is usually a good thing.

All in all, I think having to maintain a balanced mental/physical state under pressure, puts you in the zone, a place that people inherently understand is beyond the norm. Being able to flush the cares of the world and go there...by choice...is truly one of lifes pleasures. it is definitely not unique to Aikido practice: Think of going all out with swords and Naginatas wizzing at your head in a prolonged ninety step kory kata designed to tax you, and you will understand the idea of the zone...think of being wrapped up by a guy who outweights you and is pressing you and you have room to move unless you make room, and you can envision that zone.... in a different art! People find it in different activities, some people look for increased pressure to maintain it within, but I have a hunch everyone is still experiencing that same state of being.
Cheers
Dan

Aikirk
06-19-2011, 09:38 AM
Actually, I think later in his life he was not doing much of any technical teachings and was mostly focused on his spiritual stuff.

To me the learning of technique is not the goal, but what makes any technique magical is; which IMO is Aiki as taught by the IS guys :)

Greg

Yes aiki is fantastic, it makes the techniques work so much better. I'm beginning to learn it myself, though I think in a different way than with the IS people on this forum teach it. :)

sakumeikan
06-19-2011, 09:44 AM
Dear all,
This question of strength /ki ,hard /soft is all related to a persons perspective/wants and needs.Each of us a motivated to do aikido for a multiplicity of reasons, maybe spiritual , social , martial, like to dress up in fancy clothes etc.[I like the fancy clothes[joking].
Now thousands of people run daily, play football , swim etc.But generally speaking not many people do these activities to reach the standard of an Olympic Gold medal winner.It does not mean the people do not get something out of their training, but 99% will never achieve 100% of their potential in Aikido.So in a nutshell I think Aikido can be all things to all men.No more no less.If people like the soft styles great, if some guys enjoy being like latter day samurai/kami kaze types again no big deal.That sums it up for me. The debate here reminds me of a dog trying to catch its own tail.
Cheers, Joe

gregstec
06-19-2011, 09:46 AM
All in all, I think having to maintain a balanced mental/physical state under pressure, puts you in the zone, a place that people inherently understand is beyond the norm. Being able to flush the cares of the world and go there...by choice...is truly one of lifes pleasures. it is definitely not unique to Aikido practice, try going all out with Swords and Naginatas wizzing at your head in a prolonged ninety step kory kata, and you will understand the idea of the zone in a different art! People find it in different activities, some people look for increased pressure to maintain it within, but I have a hunch everyone is still experiencing that same state of being.
Cheers
Dan

I do it on the boat - actually, I do most things on the boat nowadays since I spend most of my time there due to retirement :)

However, today I am home and have to go Zone myself with yard work :yuck:

Greg

gregstec
06-19-2011, 09:50 AM
Yes aiki is fantastic, it makes the techniques work so much better. I'm beginning to learn it myself, though I think in a different way than with the IS people on this forum teach it. :)

Well, as long as you are open to learning new things, you will eventually find that which is right for you - sometimes that journey just does not take you where you thought it would :)

Greg

Aikirk
06-19-2011, 10:16 AM
Well, as long as you are open to learning new things, you will eventually find that which is right for you - sometimes that journey just does not take you where you thought it would :)

Greg

That is very true to life itself. You will have to open up to everyone and to yourself. Opening up and listening to what you feel is the key to everything. :)

gregstec
06-19-2011, 10:52 AM
That is very true to life itself. You will have to open up to everyone and to yourself. Opening up and listening to what you feel is the key to everything. :)

Exactly, it just has to be felt to be understood correctly for yourself :)

(and yes, there is a bit of a pun in the above)

Greg

RonRagusa
06-19-2011, 11:31 AM
All in all, I think having to maintain a balanced mental/physical state under pressure, puts you in the zone, a place that people inherently understand is beyond the norm. Being able to flush the cares of the world and go there...by choice...is truly one of lifes pleasures. it is definitely not unique to Aikido practice...

Hi Dan -

My father was a self taught woodworker that I spent several years working for part time while I was in high school. He never studied a martial art but judging by the quality of his work and his demeanor in the shop I can look back now and say he displayed a very high level degree of mind/body coordination.

At work he was definitely in the zone, never hurried or harried, he moved from task to task with quiet grace and the unnerving calmness typically displayed by a master craftsman.

While I didn't stay with it long enough to approach his skill at working wood, I have found that same state on the mat when I train. It is, I think, what I value most about my study. The point is, I guess, that the full spectrum of Aikido training paradigms provide a wide cross section of people with the tools and opportunity to achieve that same state of being and students will gravitate to where the training provides them with what they are looking for.

Best,

Ron

graham christian
06-19-2011, 11:41 AM
Yeah, but let's say on that journey you ask the friend to pay their half share of the cost and they say you invited me - then you say: so, you still need to pay; then your friend takes a swing at you - so, who leads that journey :)

Greg

Ahhh (yawn) good morning. ha ha. I see there's been a touch of 'it's not martial, it can't handle this or that going on. Same ol same ol alas.

Imagine me putting what you do down and calling it whatever. Amusing yet pointless really.

That's what I like about you Greg, as a whole you keep out of a lot of that unnecessary sabre rattling in comparison.

I expect questions like you gave above but only if the questioner is actually interested.

Ma-ai.G.

Aikirk
06-19-2011, 11:41 AM
Exactly, it just has to be felt to be understood correctly for yourself :)

(and yes, there is a bit of a pun in the above)

Greg

I think I know, where you are heading. You own feelings are definitely a decievable thing not easily interpretable. ;)

graham christian
06-19-2011, 12:09 PM
I back you on that. Even though i don't do Aikido any more, I begin to see that everything O'sensei said, he meant. He did not say things unnecessarily they all had meaning and truth to it. But it must be understood from a spiritual point of view, or much of it seems like a complete ramble. :)

Thanks Simon,

Isn't that one statement of O'Senseis fascinating? When a person really looks at what is being said there.

It says that through discipline you can rehabillitate and restore your true love for all. Now that takes courage. It shows there are principles of love to be learned and followed the results of which can be definite and real.

That alone is quite mindblowing for most.

Regards.G.

Aikirk
06-19-2011, 12:16 PM
Thanks Simon,

Isn't that one statement of O'Senseis fascinating? When a person really looks at what is being said there.

It says that through discipline you can rehabillitate and restore your true love for all. Now that takes courage. It shows there are principles of love to be learned and followed the results of which can be definite and real.

That alone is quite mindblowing for most.

Regards.G.

Yes it is. It's beautiful.

gregstec
06-19-2011, 12:23 PM
Ahhh (yawn) good morning. ha ha. I see there's been a touch of 'it's not martial, it can't handle this or that going on. Same ol same ol alas.

Imagine me putting what you do down and calling it whatever. Amusing yet pointless really.

That's what I like about you Greg, as a whole you keep out of a lot of that unnecessary sabre rattling in comparison.

I expect questions like you gave above but only if the questioner is actually interested.

Ma-ai.G.

Hi Graham,

First, I sincerely hope you do not think I am putting you down - I understand where you are coming from and I respect your position - it is just not mine :)

Second, I asked that question more to make a point that IMO no matter how hard you try to align yourself with someone to avoid confrontation, there will always be someone that just will not cooperate and they will attack and try to hurt you - at that point, you may need a plan B :)

Greg

gregstec
06-19-2011, 12:24 PM
I think I know, where you are heading. You own feelings are definitely a decievable thing not easily interpretable. ;)

:)

graham christian
06-19-2011, 12:38 PM
Hi Graham,

First, I sincerely hope you do not think I am putting you down - I understand where you are coming from and I respect your position - it is just not mine :)

Second, I asked that question more to make a point that IMO no matter how hard you try to align yourself with someone to avoid confrontation, there will always be someone that just will not cooperate and they will attack and try to hurt you - at that point, you may need a plan B :)

Greg

Hi Greg. No I don't think you're putting me down and I think we respect each others views.

I was going to answer it in terms of 'can a surfer turn and fight the wave' or can a skydiver turn and fight his parachute?

I think you would get the gist of what I am saying there no?

In light of the statement above though I agree there will always be one so to speak and the answer to that is in the perameters of Ki Aikido as well as mine. Thus it's not so much a plan b as more of a standard operating procedure.

Regards.G.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
06-19-2011, 01:21 PM
...
There is a quality to that mental/physical practice that infuses everything you do. I think it is what Ueshiba was on about. I have met Chinese grandmaster level guys who were at peace with themselves and filled the room with their presence. And against all of my earlier prejudices (again Ellis was right), I have now met Aikido teachers who are stellar people and exhibit that same open and calm demeaner.
Here's the clincher....I have also met and seen the same calm and openness toward life's adversity in.....seasoned grapplers...who's concerns were not only about fighting either!! Talk to some of the Gracies and you will quickly see it is lifestyle and outlook.
...
All in all, I think having to maintain a balanced mental/physical state under pressure, puts you in the zone, a place that people inherently understand is beyond the norm. Being able to flush the cares of the world and go there...by choice...is truly one of lifes pleasures. it is definitely not unique to Aikido practice: Think of going all out with swords and Naginatas wizzing at your head in a prolonged ninety step kory kata designed to tax you, and you will understand the idea of the zone...think of being wrapped up by a guy who outweights you and is pressing you and you have room to move unless you make room, and you can envision that zone.... in a different art! People find it in different activities, some people look for increased pressure to maintain it within, but I have a hunch everyone is still experiencing that same state of being.
Cheers
Dan

Great post Dan, thanks. It's these, quoted in other people's, that made me take you off my ignore list two years ago :D
Good decision that was. Have a great evening.

gregstec
06-19-2011, 05:35 PM
I was going to answer it in terms of 'can a surfer turn and fight the wave' or can a skydiver turn and fight his parachute?

I think you would get the gist of what I am saying there no?

Regards.G.

What I get out of the above is: ' what will be, will be' - in some regards you are right, there will be times when you can not do anything and you need to just go with the ride :)

However, with the proper attitude towards training, you just may have been better prepared to not get your ass in that situiation in the first place :D

Best
Greg

graham christian
06-19-2011, 05:51 PM
What I get out of the above is: ' what will be, will be' - in some regards you are right, there will be times when you can not do anything and you need to just go with the ride :)

However, with the proper attitude towards training, you just may have been better prepared to not get your ass in that situiation in the first place :D

Best
Greg

Couldn't agree more.

Regards.G.

gregstec
06-19-2011, 06:07 PM
Couldn't agree more.

Regards.G.

OK, brother, we got ourselves on the same page! - see, there is hope for humanity after all :)

graham christian
06-19-2011, 09:00 PM
On reading through the thread again, on the whole it's been quite informative I think. It's actually managed to sometimes stay quite spiritual.

As in society the term spiritual, which in some past eras had a clear meaning and caused no adverse reaction by folk whether inside or outside the martial arts, it now has in this day and age strange connotations apparently.

Within zen it is very definite and disciplined. It is probably no doubt similar in Shorinji Kempo and other arts.

When by all accounts O'Sensei looked back over the centuries of what was called budo in Japan and said he was troubled by it and that led him to his realization that true budo was love, then I feel I have a similar view with regards to something else.

When I look back over the history of Japan for example I am drawn to the warrior monks, the Sohei etc. Every bit as disciplined as the samurai, every bit as skillful, every bit as feared or respected. (They even wore their swords with the blades facing down for those who didn't know that.)

However, being very spiritual and Buddhist one can only wonder why they were so fierce and combative. (Against each other and when taking sides in political samurai manoeuvring)

Personally I think it's down to the fact that without enough reality on the spiritual then no matter what robes you wear your still translating thins according to physicality and indeed analytical thought.(ego to be more precise, even if you think you are not)

Which brings me to a point of what I would call Misunderstanding when it comes to spiritual as in Aikido as I use it and indeed from my perspective how Tohei and no doubt some others use it. The term Martial.

I'm sure everyone has an opinion on what physically martial is.

I'm sure everyone has an opinion on what mentally martial is.

I'm not so sure everyone has an opinion on what spiritually martial is though for most always try to translate it in terms of mental and physical. Thus in my opinion there follows misunderstandings.

When you watch the end of the video of Tohei Sensei in the original post he is demonstrating cutting with the bokken according to his principles. He is also making a sly dig at those who think force is stronger which I hadn't see him do in other videos for he also seems to be ridiculing the 'formal' way of the sword.

However, whether I have misinterpreted the fun part there the point is it is very real to some the spiritual discipline, the Ki discipline he is using. It is very soft in it's execution to the doer, nothing to do with body mechanics but purely to do with extending Ki and weight underside. Such was his way and his spiritual emphasis.

Very effective by demonstration, very 'unstoppable' A good example of a way which doesn't mean to say that other ways cannot do similar.

Food for thought.

Regards.G.

Mark Freeman
06-20-2011, 06:32 AM
However, whether I have misinterpreted the fun part there the point is it is very real to some the spiritual discipline, the Ki discipline he is using. It is very soft in it's execution to the doer, nothing to do with body mechanics but purely to do with extending Ki and weight underside. Such was his way and his spiritual emphasis.

Very effective by demonstration, very 'unstoppable' A good example of a way which doesn't mean to say that other ways cannot do similar.



Hi Graham,

I enjoyed your post overall, but have clipped and emphasised one small part, to disagree with, however, I may well be missing your point.

It is my understanding that extending ki and weight underside has a great deal to do with body mechanics. Although they are both mental in their origin, the correct body mechanics must be in place as the vehicle to allow the mind stuff to happen to proper effect. In effect the body must be relaxed, in balance, all movement coming from the centre.

I completely agree with you that the execution is very soft in it's execution, but for this to happen the mind has to have the correct body to back it up. This is particularly apparent when trying to teach the type of aikido that we both do. How many times have you had students who are trying to execute a technique, with softness, with extension, without struggle, but without the desired effect. They may even feed back that everything in their mind is towards that goal, but their body is scuppering their attempt. They engage shoulders when not neccessary, they hold tension in places they are not aware of, they hold their weight in the wrong place, their hands are not connected to centre, their co-ordination is not as complete as it needs to be.

I know you know all this, so it may well be me getting the wrong end of the stick, I don't want to be teaching granny any egg sucking here!;)

regards

Mark

graham christian
06-20-2011, 07:47 AM
Hi Graham,

I enjoyed your post overall, but have clipped and emphasised one small part, to disagree with, however, I may well be missing your point.

It is my understanding that extending ki and weight underside has a great deal to do with body mechanics. Although they are both mental in their origin, the correct body mechanics must be in place as the vehicle to allow the mind stuff to happen to proper effect. In effect the body must be relaxed, in balance, all movement coming from the centre.

I completely agree with you that the execution is very soft in it's execution, but for this to happen the mind has to have the correct body to back it up. This is particularly apparent when trying to teach the type of aikido that we both do. How many times have you had students who are trying to execute a technique, with softness, with extension, without struggle, but without the desired effect. They may even feed back that everything in their mind is towards that goal, but their body is scuppering their attempt. They engage shoulders when not neccessary, they hold tension in places they are not aware of, they hold their weight in the wrong place, their hands are not connected to centre, their co-ordination is not as complete as it needs to be.

I know you know all this, so it may well be me getting the wrong end of the stick, I don't want to be teaching granny any egg sucking here!;)

regards

Mark

Hi Mark.
Yes, you are quite right in what you say and that particular point was made without enough explanation I fully agree.

It was however not completely without a reason for doing so. It was partially given for food for thought. I'll explain.

When showing someone how to do it I get them to try with force as hard as they can and to feel what it's like also. In other words get someone or me to do the same when they hold the bokken.

Then I show the difference as you will be aware of.

Next, on getting the person to experiment and practice it will be quite as you say, aligning properly, pointing out through observation the physical reasons for it not working, the mental reasons and then the spiritual reasons. All step by step so of course body mechanics are part of it.

In fact you could say in ANY motion body mechanics are in play obviously. The emphasis however changes completely or rather can change completely depending how confident or capable a person becomes.

For example demonstrating weight underside can be done from so called 'impossible' positions. 'Impossible' when looked at from the perspective of body mechanics or standardly correct physical posture.

I would say Tohei could stand sideways on and one handedly do the same thing for example. In fact no doubt he could do it with a soft hand let alone a bokken with his body facing another direction as he's let's say looking for or turning to meet another attacker let alone for demo purposes.

These things are all not a matter of conjecture but rather of individual capability. Degrees of, I would say.

Only a few months ago I was doing a similar demo in class, albeit against a jo, showing the difference to a student. Showing a hard strong cut and then he had to explain to the class what it felt like apart from them seeing the effect themselves. Then I did it with weight underside and with the intention of knocking the bokken straight down. It worked and he picthed foreward etc.

As it was all finished someone asked me the question what if. Oh no, another what if. This time it was what if you did it like you have said before with absolutely no intention to knock the bokken down but more spiritually.(They are used to the way I talk) Well, it was one of those times when you're asked not because they want to do it but to see the difference.

I found myself explaining first the differences in me mentally, physically and spiritually as to the approach needed. I jokingly said 'I suppose we would have to call this super soft.

Well, it was indeed super soft, meditative, still, but the effect was rather unexpected. The jo broke clean in half and the student was face down on the mat.

One of those times for quiet reflection. The purpose of the demo had been successful, namely potential. That added something or maybe lack of something, no doubt both, was for me to understand in myself.

The overall point here is that things may seem 'out there' but as with many so called spiritual martial artists who to me are too airy fairy the discipline is what's missing even on the spiritual side. It still does take a correct alignment of all three, spirit, mind and body. An awake spirit, a still mind, a relaxed body to put it simplistically.

You know what, I believe that many equate the spiritual side as passive and therein may be the misunderstanding.

Hope it doesn't come across as rambling.

Regards.G.

hughrbeyer
06-22-2011, 08:59 PM
So bringing the thread back to its origin... I revisited this thread and ended up watching the video to the end. My comments above were based on only seeing what Tohei Sensei's students were doing at the beginning.

So what Tohei is doing is interesting and impressive, of course, but my question is--what's the relationship between what he's doing at the end and what his students are doing at the beginning? They must be doing what he's trying to teach, since he's chosen to highlight them. But are they living in even the same universe of aikido practice?

graham christian
06-22-2011, 11:38 PM
So bringing the thread back to its origin... I revisited this thread and ended up watching the video to the end. My comments above were based on only seeing what Tohei Sensei's students were doing at the beginning.

So what Tohei is doing is interesting and impressive, of course, but my question is--what's the relationship between what he's doing at the end and what his students are doing at the beginning? They must be doing what he's trying to teach, since he's chosen to highlight them. But are they living in even the same universe of aikido practice?

Hi Hugh.

Could you be a bit more specific and I'll promise to answer as best I can.

Regards.G.

hughrbeyer
06-23-2011, 10:58 PM
Jeez, you're making me work and it's past my bedtime. OK, here goes. I'm gonna appear to criticize the people in this video, but I expect they're very senior aikidoka and can withstand a little criticism from an internet nobody like me.

Look at the demos starting at 3:30 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=208s) or so. Look at the height of nage's head as they execute iriminage. Bounce up to meet the shomenuchi, down with the attack, up again, down for the throw. Lots and lots of external movement. And clearly this is intentional, because Tohei Sensei illustrates it at 6:55 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=415s). Action/reaction, push on uke and they push back.

And there's nothing wrong with this in itself, maybe, but look at the shihonage at 3:44 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=224s). Action/reaction, uke goes down and comes back up--on balance. Then she stands there waiting for the throw. Happens several times.

Worse, look at the kotegaishis at 3:59 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=239s). Now we've got uke doing the bouncy-bouncy thing during the attack. I'm sorry, but this is just meaningless.

Now look at Tohei himself. Most of his demonstrations he's starting with uke in a static position, which means he's not depending on momentum or action/reaction at all. Look at 5:07 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=307s). Look at 5:26 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=326s), which is superficially like some of the movements of his students, but look at his head and his center. No bouncy-bouncy at all, just connection. Look at 6:58 again. Ostensibly he's showing what his students did but again, it's not depending on momentum and tho there is action/reaction, Tohei is both causing the action and taking advantage of the reaction with little external movement and no change in the level of head or hara. He does get around to showing the full movement at 7:31 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=451s), but it's like he has to work to show a tenth of the up and down movement his students show.

I think the point is made, but here are some more examples. Look at his shihonage at 9:34 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=574s), which is sweet. It's slow, but there's no question he's got uke's balance the whole time, and look how little external movement he needs. Look at all his illustrations of dealing with a resisting uke which follow. No dependance on momentum or action/reaction, just ki and connection. Look at how he handles the shoulder grab at 20:28 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=1230s), which reminds me a lot of the Numata Sensei video I was admiring earlier.

I don't see any of this reflected in his students' movement. And it seems to me that emphasizing the big external movements is going to make it very hard for them to find and duplicate what he's doing. It's so subtle, it's easily masked by all that external movement.

So, just my reactions. This is as much about the training method as the waza itself, in a lot of ways.

graham christian
06-24-2011, 01:51 AM
Jeez, you're making me work and it's past my bedtime. OK, here goes. I'm gonna appear to criticize the people in this video, but I expect they're very senior aikidoka and can withstand a little criticism from an internet nobody like me.

Look at the demos starting at 3:30 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=208s) or so. Look at the height of nage's head as they execute iriminage. Bounce up to meet the shomenuchi, down with the attack, up again, down for the throw. Lots and lots of external movement. And clearly this is intentional, because Tohei Sensei illustrates it at 6:55 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=415s). Action/reaction, push on uke and they push back.

And there's nothing wrong with this in itself, maybe, but look at the shihonage at 3:44 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=224s). Action/reaction, uke goes down and comes back up--on balance. Then she stands there waiting for the throw. Happens several times.

Worse, look at the kotegaishis at 3:59 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=239s). Now we've got uke doing the bouncy-bouncy thing during the attack. I'm sorry, but this is just meaningless.

Now look at Tohei himself. Most of his demonstrations he's starting with uke in a static position, which means he's not depending on momentum or action/reaction at all. Look at 5:07 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=307s). Look at 5:26 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=326s), which is superficially like some of the movements of his students, but look at his head and his center. No bouncy-bouncy at all, just connection. Look at 6:58 again. Ostensibly he's showing what his students did but again, it's not depending on momentum and tho there is action/reaction, Tohei is both causing the action and taking advantage of the reaction with little external movement and no change in the level of head or hara. He does get around to showing the full movement at 7:31 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=451s), but it's like he has to work to show a tenth of the up and down movement his students show.

I think the point is made, but here are some more examples. Look at his shihonage at 9:34 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=574s), which is sweet. It's slow, but there's no question he's got uke's balance the whole time, and look how little external movement he needs. Look at all his illustrations of dealing with a resisting uke which follow. No dependance on momentum or action/reaction, just ki and connection. Look at how he handles the shoulder grab at 20:28 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuZdxhA_h4Y&feature=player_detailpage#t=1230s), which reminds me a lot of the Numata Sensei video I was admiring earlier.

I don't see any of this reflected in his students' movement. And it seems to me that emphasizing the big external movements is going to make it very hard for them to find and duplicate what he's doing. It's so subtle, it's easily masked by all that external movement.

So, just my reactions. This is as much about the training method as the waza itself, in a lot of ways.

Hi Hugh.
I'm pleasantly surprised by your work and your thoughts.Indeed also by your presentation. Now I've got to work to answer as best I can.

First let's take a look at the ukes in the beginning. I agree they have technical outnesses as you describe and no doubt are doing a degree of 'copying' as I call it rather than fully understanding what they are doing. Collusivity, some may call it.

Now I'll attempt to put it into perspective. Remember, all students when compared to the master look very different and much more collusive, it's natural really and should be expected so I am not surprised at all there.

Next I would say that I have seen Tohei do such in a similar manner also when he is exaggerating the motion and movement AND feeling so that observers can see kind of three dimensionally what's going on.

So what is the principle(s) he is talking about to the audience that he wants those ukes to show?

Well first let me point out two things, eventually two very different things though in the beginning called and seen as the same thing. LEADING.

There is leading the mind and there is leading Ki.

O.k. So he is trying to show the effect of leading the mind and some principles involved in that aspect. Which brings me to the down/up effect.

I can see you know the principle of push down the reaction will be up so you translate it as such, action/reaction. All good physically.

So back to the demo. Leading the mind Tohei style is difficult and takes time to understand in itself let alone then use the principles of it. Add to this that there is another factor of weight underside, (which comes from complete relaxation and at the same time 'flexible' yet 'unbendable' arm) involved. (as shown in his ikkyo exercises)

Now here's the corker. Down/up mind wise. If you lead and then drop the persons mind they will pitch foreward. It's a drop straight down. verticle, no nearly verticle, so he is dropping their mind.

Now to phase two, I call it the tennis ball effect. If you have learned to lead the mind you then learn how to bounce the mind. The effect on the opponent is not one even from their perspective that they are reacting against something they just feel taken and bounced.

I hope this gives you an insight as to what's going on. Try it physically and you can get a pitch foreward or even a jerk reaction back but you cannot get that same bounce, it's a totally different skill.

The students were no doubt doing what they practice in training and maybe even in their training they do it all in an exagerated fashion in order to improve their understanding but I must say that in training from moving attacks the other factors come into play so it can't really be compared to static visually so to speak until you are aware of all the other factors.

So also in their demo they are showing using that aspect of leading and bouncing the mind in various techniques. Just one aspect of the whole.

As the video goes on Tohei is no doubt adding and talking about other aspects as well, other principles. For example with the big guy from static where he is leading the mind and yet he has brought the other fella's centre line into the equation

By the time you get to 9-34 he is now showing principles of the circle as well. Beautiful.

On to shoulder grab you'll notice that although he is showing what not to do, ie: stand and push back, in so doing he cant help but let the persons energy go in and return back through his body and bounce the attacker off and thus you see what great koshi he had as well. (what i hear others calling ground force or something like that)

So that was his demo of what not to do and he proceeds to do some motions using a combination of principles.

Hope this gives you a clearer perspective on the video.

Regards.G.

hughrbeyer
06-24-2011, 09:19 PM
Thanks for the explanations. I'll need to cogitate on that for a bit.

Mark Freeman
06-25-2011, 09:27 AM
Well first let me point out two things, eventually two very different things though in the beginning called and seen as the same thing. LEADING.

There is leading the mind and there is leading Ki.

O.k. So he is trying to show the effect of leading the mind and some principles involved in that aspect. Which brings me to the down/up effect.

I can see you know the principle of push down the reaction will be up so you translate it as such, action/reaction. All good physically.

So back to the demo. Leading the mind Tohei style is difficult and takes time to understand in itself let alone then use the principles of it. Add to this that there is another factor of weight underside, (which comes from complete relaxation and at the same time 'flexible' yet 'unbendable' arm) involved. (as shown in his ikkyo exercises)

Now here's the corker. Down/up mind wise. If you lead and then drop the persons mind they will pitch foreward. It's a drop straight down. verticle, no nearly verticle, so he is dropping their mind.

Now to phase two, I call it the tennis ball effect. If you have learned to lead the mind you then learn how to bounce the mind. The effect on the opponent is not one even from their perspective that they are reacting against something they just feel taken and bounced.

I hope this gives you an insight as to what's going on. Try it physically and you can get a pitch foreward or even a jerk reaction back but you cannot get that same bounce, it's a totally different skill.

Hi Graham,

This aspect of Tohei's aikido is fundamental to his particular 'way', others may have it in theirs but it is maybe not so apparent.

I spend a great deal of time with my students examining and practicing these principles, and you are right, they are not that easy to grasp - very easy to do when you have embodied the skill, but difficult to get rid of all the mind/body habits that get in the way of it happening effortlessly.

For me, leading ukes mind from the moment that they initiate the attack, is what makes the whole thing work. Lead the mind and the body will follow. The tennis ball effect is exactly as you describe, both powerful and slightly disorientating for uke.

I really enjoyed watching the video as I had not seen that one before. I wish I could understand Japanese, to hear his detailed instruction, I certainly recognised all of the principles being shown.

regards

Mark

graham christian
06-25-2011, 10:20 AM
Hi Graham,

This aspect of Tohei's aikido is fundamental to his particular 'way', others may have it in theirs but it is maybe not so apparent.

I spend a great deal of time with my students examining and practicing these principles, and you are right, they are not that easy to grasp - very easy to do when you have embodied the skill, but difficult to get rid of all the mind/body habits that get in the way of it happening effortlessly.

For me, leading ukes mind from the moment that they initiate the attack, is what makes the whole thing work. Lead the mind and the body will follow. The tennis ball effect is exactly as you describe, both powerful and slightly disorientating for uke.

I really enjoyed watching the video as I had not seen that one before. I wish I could understand Japanese, to hear his detailed instruction, I certainly recognised all of the principles being shown.

regards

Mark

Hi Mark.
Yes, it was the first time I had seen that particular video and like you I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Isn't it funny as when you see one done from the way you understand you are looking at it almost in 3D and kind of say to yourself 'now that's what I'm talking about!'

Hence when I watch other styles I have to remind myself most of my understanding of what I'm seeing is assumption unless the person is communicating what they are doing.

This is also true the other way around when you see others commenting from a so called expert view when you can see by their comments they are well off the mark. All good learning both ways.

You know, before I came onto Aikiweb I never really used the term or thought of things in terms of internal and external as I used the terms hard and soft.

For me I thought you can't have internal without external and visa versa. We were taught to feel both and recognise both all the time and that both need to be in unison but no added significance. So it was all a matter and still is for me of what principles are being used.

When I teach a principle I teach how that same principle applies physically, how it applies mentally and how it applies spiritually. The effects of it inside and outside.

Anyway, gotta bounce, ha ha.

Resgards. G.

graham christian
07-02-2011, 08:53 PM
I wonder why I never hear any discussion on Toheis five principles of Aikido rather than the four principles of mind and body unification?

I conclude that many think that those four are the sum of his understanding.

Each of the five principles go as deep as you want them to go and take years to appreciate.

As a discipline his rules are more like a super discipline, a point missed by the majority unfortunately. That doesn't mean the way of teaching couldn't be improved by someone but merely that in terms of 'old school' well you can't get more old school than that.

This is why many don't last, impatience, the grass being greener on the other side, the usual story for most styles.

Regards.G.